ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ On The Benefits Of Applying Argumentation Theory To Research On The Simultaneous Interpretation Of Political Speeches

Abstract: Even though interpreting is to a great extent about the interlinguistic reproduction of arguments, argumentation theory is almost completely overlooked by interpreting studies, which partly explains the frequent production of pragmatically inappropriate interpreted texts. Against the theoretical gap, the paper puts forward a descriptive argumentation approach to political speeches with a view to their simultaneous interpretation, in the attempt to make the case for a systematic contribution of argumentation studies to interpretation theory and training.
Keywords: argumentative equivalence, simultaneous interpreting, source texts (STs), strategic manoeuvring.

1. Introduction
The omnipresence of argumentation in everyday verbal communication is the hinge of argumentation studies (van Eemeren et al., 1996, pp. 1-2) and the main reason for their flourishing, from the classical period to a renewed spate of interest last century. What is probably less evident and certainly less studied is the fact that the socio-professional needs of the globalised world repeatedly demand that argumentation be reproduced in another language to cater for interlinguistic communication needs. In this respect, the present paper analyses how argumentation is and should be reproduced in interlinguistic settings requiring the interpreting service.

Argumentation is “the dominant mode of discourse in many interpreted situations” (Marzocchi, 1997, p. 182) and interpretation consequently implies a continuous argumentative interaction, thereby requiring at least an intuitive knowledge of the appropriate contextual use of arguments on the part of interpreters (Marzocchi, 1997, p. 184). Notably, when the predominant focus of a communicative situation is on the discursive attempt to resolve a difference of opinion, the quality of the interpreter’s performance is assessed on the basis of his/her ability to convey the argumentative purpose of the original text, “possibly to the detriment of other kinds of equivalence or of received ideas concerning fidelity” (Marzocchi, 1997, p. 183). This particularly holds true for political argumentation, in which the systematic and subtle implementation of strategic manoeuvring (Zarefsky, 2009, p. 115) to overcome a conflict between different lines of action demands specific equivalence standards not only concerning the content of the message but also its persuasive and ethotic dimensions, which are less important in other communicative events such as specialist conferences.

However, despite the significant development of argumentation studies in the last few decades and the argumentative character of several interpreted situations, the extent to which knowledge of argumentation theory by the interpreter could benefit the overall comprehension of the original or source text and favour the production of the respective interpreted text has yet to be explored (Crevatin in Marzocchi, 1998, Preface, p. xiv). More precisely, the growing interest in argumentation has gone mostly unnoticed in interpreting scholarly settings, in spite of its multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature. This is partly due to the fact that interpreting research is a fairly young and largely unexplored discipline (Garzone & Viezzi, 2002, p. 2), and the contribution of argumentation makes up one of most overlooked albeit potentially fruitful domains.

The paper outlines the preliminary findings of a broader PhD project focusing on the empirical examination of recurrent argument schemes in a multilingual corpus of political speeches. By harnessing the hermeneutical and contrastive functions of argumentation analysis (Marzocchi, 1998, p. 8), the study uncovers substantial differences in speakers’ adoption of argument schemes, thereby making the case for enhanced language-specific, argumentation-driven interpreter preparation. In this respect, the present paper is primarily concerned with the applicability of argumentation concepts and methods to interpreter training. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ The Voices Of Justice; Argumentative Polyphony And Strategic Manoeuvring In Judgement Motivations: An Example From The Italian Constitutional Court

Abstract: Combining the ScaPoLine (Nølke, Fløttum, & Norén, 2004; Nølke, 2009, 2011, 2013) with the (extended) pragma-dialectical approach (van Eemeren & Grootendorst 1984; 2004; van Eemeren 2010), I suggest a reconstruction of judgement motivations as critical discussions between a plurality of voices conveyed even in one and the same sentence. In particular, I present some illustrative examples of polyphonic strategic manoeuvring from a landmark judgment of the Italian Constitutional Court: n. 440/1995.

Keywords: Critical discussion, Italian Constitutional Court, legal discourse, polyphony, Pragma-dialectics, ScaPoLine, strategic manoeuvring.

1. Introduction
When reading legal texts such as judgement motivations, one encounters a plurality of voices carrying different views on the issue at stake. This happens not only – quite unsurprisingly – at a textual level, but also at the micro-level of the utterance (cf. Nølke, 2009, p. 12). With Nølke (2009, p. 12), I focus here on “polyphonie en langue, conçue comme le produit des éléments de la langue susceptibles de favoriser une certaine lecture polyphonique de la parole.” I maintain that the use of such polyphony has an argumentative significance and that this can lead to reconstruct such apparently monological texts as fully fledged critical discussions permeated by the striving for rhetoric efficiency known in Pragma-dialectics as strategic manoeuvring (van Eemeren, 2010). In other words, I suggest focusing on argumentative polyphony in judicial motivations and looking at it from the angle of rhetoric efficiency, since, as van Eemeren (2010, p. 153) pointedly writes, it is the “ample room left for strategic maneuvering [that] is, in fact, the basis of the legal profession.”

The matters addressed in the present contribution are of methodological order and can be broken down into two questions:
* Can an integration of the pragma-dialectical and a polyphonic approach provide useful insights into argumentation analysis?
* Does polyphony account for strategic manoeuvring in judgement motivations?

The fundamental suggestion put forward is therefore the integration of two theoretical pillars: the (extended) Pragma-dialectics on the one hand (see among others van Eemeren & Grootendorst, 2004; 1992; 1984; van Eemeren, 2010), and the linguistic polyphonic approach known under the acronym ScaPoLine – which stands for Théorie SCAndinave de la POlyphonie LINguistique – on the other hand (see among others Nølke, Fløttum & Norén, 2004; Nølke, 2006; Nølke, 2013).

2. Theoretical framework
2.1 The first pillar: Extended Pragma-dialectics
I will not dwell largely upon the first pillar here, since it is the specialty of the Institution hosting the conference from which the present volume results. Only two aspects are to be briefly recalled to the reader’s mind: the ideal abstract model of a critical discussion, in which argumentation and standpoint are staged, and the rhetorical component present in argumentation. Read more

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